Who wants to see the spookiest experiment of 2018?

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I’ve been running experiments in my dark and cob-web-filled basement… ooooh sooo spoooky.

Just kidding, I don’t have a basement but I have been running experiments.

We all know that to run to have proper scientific method you need a hypothesis. just like the basement, I don’t have one of those either.

What I do have is a question, What really happens if you don’t post everyday on Instagram?

Well I’ve spent the last month posting every other day or sometimes pushing it to every 3 days.

Some days it was pure bliss to not feel the pressure to create content, to take a break and other times it was torture, and caused increased stress and anxiety. If you’ve ever taken a social media break, you may be nodding your head right now.

The problem was even if I wanted to post on those days when I was feeling tortured, I didn’t have anything created.

To add an extra layer to my experiment, I didn’t pre-create my content. I wanted to live wild and free, fast and lost. Nahh, I wanted to try and mimic the experience of a lot of business owners that I talk to who create content on the fly when they finally have time after a long day at their co-working space or running across the city and back again for meetings.

Here’s what I learned:

1. Your followers will turn into ghosts

Within 24 hours of not posting, your followers leave you faster than you can say Boo! If you already follow me then you know that the follower count doesn’t all that much matter to me. People will come and go but the people who are really down for what you are doing will stick around. You still have to show up for them eventually though. It would be silly to think they’ll wait months for you to produce one instagram post when they can get what you have somewhere else more consistently. So, if you post every few days and aren’t worried about some followers leaving, I guess this part is not so frightening afterall.

2. You broomstick loses its power

It’s actually harder to keep growth and engagement up when you aren’t posting everyday. I lost my motivation. When I did post, I felt a little empty like a zombie. It feels like you’ve got to work twice as hard to get the followers you lost back and get your comment section fired up. This could have something to do with the algorithm or it could be a lack of continuity that your followers can feel deep in their bones. We also tend to want to shove more information into one post because it feels like we’ve accumulated some things to say in the past few days. It’s hella important to keep your content focused, easy to navigate and consume. I guess it’s kind of important to post everyday to spread your content out and keep your people in the loop. It also helps to be able to have a bird’s eye view of things that only comes with planning ahead.

3. Brain mush

Creating content on the fly requires a massive creative and energy dump at the most inconvenient times. Having not planned content for this month was maybe the hardest part of this experiment. My brain was turning to mush and feeling fried every time I had to create a post. Creating content ahead of time not only allows you to share your story easily but it reduces stress by 200%. Another thing that pre-planning helps with is producing the best version of the post. It allows space for self-revision and self-correction without you even noticing. Check this out: Say I planned my content last week so my brain already has gotten a bunch of thoughts out and I don’t have to remember them. Now my brain (mmm delicious brains) has space to toil, boil and bubble around. Very often my brain swirls up an improvement on something I already had planned to talk about. That idea for improvement would not have happened if I hadn’t buried the seeds the week before. It helps you create the best version of your content because often our first version is not our best version.

Enough of the metaphors and experiments, if you are still living in the age of Frankenstein and want to unshackle yourselves from extra strife, do the work now. Plan your daily content for Instagram ahead of time, including story ideas and posts with captions. Here’s the secret, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be all filled in. Choose a time once a month or once a week and set up your schedule and content and your brain do the rest.

Let me know in the comments if one of these lessons learned resonated with you. Do you post only when you get “inspiration” or have you switched into planning mode and are reaping the rewards? Have you ever been dropped a nugget of inspiration after you’ve taken the first step?